Personailizing

Personalizing is taking something personally that may not be personal. When one takes everything personally, stressful events feel like consequences of something one personally did…they feel they somehow deserve the consequences. Although, someone who is blunt may express their opinion about something, as they may always do, but someone who takes things personally may be hurt by this person’s words, even when the blunt person did not intend to hurt the other person.

The first tip for personalizers is to realize that not all set backs are the end of the world.
If you feel rejection, that is okay, even normal. Although, we need to keep in mind that this feeling of rejection does not mean that you are never going to be successful one day.
Remember that negative feedback can be useful to improve work, not to point out all of your mistakes. You are talented and skilled!



Second, be kinder to yourself. Give grace to your own mistakes and imperfections. If you can learn to be nicer to yourself about your imperfections, you won’t automatically jump to feeling attacked when other people make comments.

Next, it is important to accurately label emotions you are feeling. Emotions drive thoughts and behavior. Emotions often trigger personalizing. When you can label your emotions accurately you are able to better manage thinking and behavior. Then the next step is to practice. Imagine situations in which feelings of rejection are likely. Now put yourself in that situation. What should you do or think about in this situation? After having this imaginative practice, now it is time to learn through doing. Experimenting through real life situations.

The root cause of this personalization is often due to attachment anxiety. Personalizers often want to  please everyone. They want to be accepted and loved by everyone. The solution is to attempt to be warm to people but maintain better boundaries. It is not your job to please everyone.

I hope these tips help. Remember you can work towards healthy lifestyle change. If you or someone you know would like some life coaching in this area please contact me.


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Two Important reasons for rest

I have mentioned several times the importance of resting for self-care and living to our full potential. CEOs, caretakers, pastors and workaholics are dead set in their work ethic. They want to be productive and successful. It is wonderful to be living with such high goals and expectations.  Although, this always-on-the-go lifestyle has it’s downfalls too. We were not created to work this way. The Bible offers a lot of examples and principles for a healthy lifestyle.

The truth is that the Bible offers a picture of balance. Rest is important is a principle depicted by even God the Father, who rested on the seventh day after creating the universe. Jesus followed suit on many occasions He “went away” from everyone to be alone with God the Father to fast, rest and pray. While I could continue on in the theological evidence, I want to also mention that more and more studies are providing the same information that I am arguing from a Biblical perspective. On Wednesday, I posted my weekly links post. This theme for these links is napping. Napping helps people to be well-rested and in turn, more productive. Even Google is embracing the importance of well-rested employees, as they provide rest pods for their workers.

Through the Bible there is a theme centering around boundaries and balance. We can be the most productive and the most pleasant when we have proper boundaries in our lives. Work is definitely a high priority and an important one. At times, it can be difficult to put down the phone and spend time with kids. Important meetings and business deals need to get down, yes. But there are other priorities that need to be balanced as well. How are you doing socially? emotionally? physically? sexually? close relationships?

Your job will not satisfy all of your needs.

This why we need rest and we need balance.
I challenge you to rest this week. Even if it is only marked out for one hour every day this week or blocked out for a Friday or Saturday evening. During this time, enjoy God and enjoy other people. Do not entertain thoughts about your job. Also take care of yourself. Exercise or enjoy a hobby. Get ready for the next storm. Life does not stop, but as a human you should stop and rest.

Check your emotional pulse and remember to take a break

Have you ever felt isolated and alone at your work or home? Are you missing a passion and zeal for your job or life that you once felt? Have become preoccupied with those you are helping that you think about them while you are away from work? Are you currently satisfied with your life’s work? Have you experienced a loss of energy lately? Do you find it difficult to separate your own feelings from the problems at work? Do you feel like you do not have many friends outside your family and work?

Those are a lot of vital questions. If you answered “yes” to more than one of those questions, you may be feeling like life is an emotional roller coaster. There are highs, lows, boredom, and continual demands in life. Is it any wonder that you feel emotionally drained at the end of a week? When you engage in this (highly stressful or emotional behavior) week-after-week, it takes its’ toll. Likely, the better you are at your job, the heavier the emotional burden. You are not alone. Others are struggling with this same balance. It is normal to feel this way. The question is, what are some practices that can provide you relief from emotional strain? You may need to give yourself permission to read a good book or take a walk in your break time. Sometimes knowing that you have a regularly scheduled break may get you through the day. Think about two or three things you can to do every week for their own personal downtime and emotional well-being.

Life is an unpredictable ride. A lot of emotional stress can be draining. Try a simple experiment this week. If you have either a watch or an electronic calendar on phone or computer that has an alarm built in, set it for 10:30 and 3:30 every day for a week. When the alarm goes off, take a quick Sabbatical. Even if it is only for a minute or two to take a few deep breathes of air and zone out from your work, give this strategy a try for one week.

One simple way to dramatically improve your life

It does seem so simple. From a distance it does not seem like it is even worthy of a drum-roll. Although, it is worth it and so much more. This simple adjustment in your life can reduce your stress level, lift your mood and help you focus on what is important. This key behavior is an attitude modification.  Let me explain:

Instead of reacting to stress or crisis, learn to respond.
Instead of letting circumstances determine our mindset, master the skill of adjusting your attitude despite the circumstances.
Instead of letting the present here-and-now trouble control our emotions and thinking, contemplate hope, realize the trouble is temporary and maintain a positive outlook.

The simple serenity prayer is a great reminder. I say this everyday:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference.

*[Serenity = peace of mind.]


How-to:

Let me offer some example. Imagine that there is a last minute office meeting in the board room, completely unplanned. You are put on the spot by your boss (the managing director of the building) to present to his boss (the CEO of the company). You are stressing out! The situation is stressful! Your first initial thoughts are not pleasant (“What am I doing?” “What am I suppose to say?”  ” I want to hurt my boss, he should have given me a heads up!” “I am not going to look good.” “I hate this” – you get the idea). That initial thought is followed with emotions (nervous, stress, anxious, scared, embarrassedunprepared, unworthy) and physical sensation (heart racing, mind cluttered, sweating, nerve pain, shallow quick breathing, blushing, chest tightness, tense muscles, light-headed, feeling out of control and fatigue). All three of these (initial cognitive thoughts, body’s reaction and emotional toll) of these naturally lead to a natural behavior (running to the bathroom, being tense and clamming up in the board room, raging anger towards boss in spite or sarcasm or worse a meltdown). 

All of these behaviors are common natural reactions. Although, instead of behaving naturally, it is better to stop at each step and learn how to respond instead of merely react. The concept is simple in theory but in implementation it takes some practice. So first when we have those initial cognitive mental thoughts regarding a stressor, realize these are natural reactions. Everyone has these fleeting thoughts. The first thing we can do is instead of agree and listen to these thoughts, we can ignore them, or better, we can dispute them by thinking about the situation more rationally. 
The second step is in the emotions and physical sensations, again these are natural feelings. At first it is very difficult to ignore these emotions. We shouldn’t. It is good to acknowledge these emotional feelings and research where they are coming from and why. Bottling up emotions is negative. Somethings just talking to someone is the biggest help.
Finally, our behavior. After having a bad day emotionally and cognitively, it is easy to just react with negative behavior. Although, even after dealing with emotions and thinking, we may still desire to do something negative emotionally. We still have to think about it. We still have a choice to make. We can, with some practice, choice to behave in a positive manner, even after a long negative day full of stressors. 

Going back to the example, instead of embarrassing yourself and making the CEO and your boss like fools, you told yourself quietly  that “I can do this!” and “I am awesome.” Positive self-talk disputes the negative thinking. Second you feel the anxiety but instead of letting it eat away at you, you choose to strike a confident posture and breathe deeply through-out the entire meeting. When the meeting is over you talk to your boss privately about how you were actually feeling. Also when you get home, you deal with more of your negative with your supportive spouse (ideally). Finally the behavior in the board room is driven my the positive reaction you are maintaining. Instead of despising your boss and acting immature, you are flexible and professional. You do your best honest work given the circumstances.  



Are you in touch with your emotions?

Did you know that just maintaining a sad face drags you down? Your mind and body both are negatively by the a frown. The idea of “fake it until you make it” is more than cliche. Science backs it.

First, let’s examine the benefits of smiling. Did you know that smiling lowers your heart rate? Also
Neurotransmitters called endorphins are released when you smile. These make us feel happy.
It’s not easy to keep smiling in stressful situations, but studies report that doing exactly that has health benefits. When recovering from a stressful situation, study participants who were smiling had lower heart rates than those with a neutral facial expression.

A smile also makes one more attractive, easy going, and empathetic. In fact, a study in the European Journal of Social Psychology found that smiling actually makes you more attractive to those you smile at. A study found that smiling can make you more comfortable in situations you would otherwise feel awkward in.

Smiling even makes your immune system stronger by making your body produce white blood cells to help fight illnesses. One study found that hospitalized children who were visited by story-tellers and puppeteers who made them smile and laugh had higher white blood cell counts than those children who weren’t visited.

Studies have found that people are more willing to engage socially with others who are smiling. A smile and all the positive emotions associated with it are contagious. University of Pittsburgh study concluded that people who smiled were considered “more trustworthy” than people with non-smiling facial expressions.

Laughing too has a ton of scientific benefits. Levels of stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine tend to decrease during bouts of laughter. Laughter is used to reduce stress, relieve pain and boost immunological responses by doctors and therapists.  Laughter has been shown to lower or balance blood pressure and increase vascular blood flow. Laughing 100 times is equivalent to 10 minutes on a rowing machine or 15 minutes on the stationary bicycle. Similar to smiling, laughing also increases endrophines in the body and also makes a person more pleasant to be around.

 Laughter is relaxing to our bodies and muscles. In one study, students who watched a funny video in their classroom responded with lower levels of aggression in tense situations.
Negative emotions are bad for body. Science is beginning to confirm what certain wise men have said at different points in history. King David said, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” Prov. 17:22. Your mind and mental state can have a profound affect on your physical body, your spiritual experience, and your over-all quality of life. The mind, the body, and the spirit are all inextricably interconnected. When one is affected, the other two suffer.
Here is another interesting point. When you are stressed do you clench your right hand or left hand? Assuming you  are right handed, you probably clench your right hand. This is normal, new there is stress, the body gets more tense. A long clench on the right hand or many through-out the day, though could suggest too much stress.If you notice that you do this. Try something else: Try your left hand when you are stressed out. Some athletes may improve their performance under pressure simply by squeezing a ball or clenching their left hand before competition to activate certain parts of the brain, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association. Dogs do this too with their tails. When dogs are anxious they wag their tag from right to left, but when they are happy they wag their tail from  left to right! 
I leave you with one activity for you. Try this experiment, place a weight on a string and then hold your hand steady while holding the string and letting the weight drop. See how long you can hold it still and steady. Next, think about moving the string clockwise but do not do it, only think about it. Slowly the weight will move clockwise. Now, think about it moving in a counter-clockwise direction but do not actually initiate your muscles…slowly the weight will change directions!
This is an amazing proof that our mind and emotions do really strongly effect the rest of our body, if the science was not enough for you!

Are you reacting or responding?

When a stressor reaps havoc in our lives, these events or problems spur an automatic thought in our head. These are automatic thoughts come naturally to us. They are our beliefs and values. We do not have to think about the thoughts. 
From these beliefs or thoughts an emotion follows. This emotion comes to us almost as quickly as the first automatic thought. The emotion is based upon our automatic thoughts. 
From there we behave or take action. Many of these automatic thoughts are healthy and positive. Although, all of us at times, have negative and deteriorating automatic thoughts that are harmful to ourselves and others. If we are not careful, our behavior could also be influenced primarily on the negative automatic thoughts and the emotions from these thoughts that we are feeling at any one time.

Those that react on emotion feel that they do not have a choice. They believe that they should take action based on how they are feeling at the time and respond according to their emotions. They have always lived in the moment and feel like what they are thinking and feeling is important and needs to be heard.  Although, as intense as those emotions are and natural as it seems for us to react based on our feelings, the truth is that we do not have to react based on how we are feeling in the moment.

Instead we have a choice in how we respond to our emotions. We have a choice in how we even respond to those automatic thoughts and beliefs. And yes, we even have a choice in how we respond to stress and difficult people or situations. We must slow down our thinking and learn to respond instead of merely reacting. 

Learn how to dispute or challenge these negative parasitic beliefs and learn to respond to emotions instead of reacting to them. Get the help of a life coach or a therapist, like myself NOW. Get accountability and help TODAY.